Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Myth of Dean Foods' Horizon Organic Dairy Products and of Free Range Organic Dairy in General - More Evidence On the Lies Behind the Industry

The is a very serious issue. One that will only grow in size in the coming years.
I have listed the urls for a few related articles. The first one is VERY related.
Actually shows photos of the Aurora "Organic Dairy" that is mentioned below.
From the actual group that is calling for an investigation of it. Very interesting reading. I encourage all to visit each article.

The point is to question and not just accept what these companies
say (especially when owned by a large corporation like Dean Foods. Did anyone ever really think that when Horizon Organic sold out to Dean Foods that they would have good intentions? Come on...)

Also, and most importantly, demand strict standards.


Cornucopia Institute Requests Full USDA Investigation of Aurora Dairy

See pictures from same site on supposed "organic" farms -

Photos of the truth behind a Horizon operation - Organic my ...

Clouds on the Organic Horizon
Is organic farming becoming the victim of its own success? -

This is a column the Denver Post business section 11/29/05. Humanely raised
organic free range milk and eggs are a myth that is nothing but a marketing
tool perpetuated by the meat and dairy industry to soften the horror of
factory farming.

Cow pies fly over organic standards
By Al Lewis
Denver Post Staff Columnist
Organic cows are happy cows, grazing free in green pastures - at least that's
what the organic-milk cartons imply. The less stress on the cow, goes the
logic, the better the milk. Consumers who pay a premium for organic milk are
supposed to feel good about subsidizing this expensive bovine lifestyle.
Ordinary dairy cows, by contrast, are strapped to a big corporate sucking
machine for up to 10 months a year. And they typically get turned into
hamburger before they can complain about it. But Steve Wells, 48, who runs a
32,000- acre ranch east of Greeley, says he didn't let the so-called organic
cows out of his feedlot very often. Wells was a contractor for Boulder-based
Aurora Organic Dairy, which supplies milk for private labels in stores such
as Safeway, Wild Oats, Target and Costco, and also to Dean Foods' Horizon
Organic. Wells, a fourth-generation rancher, said Aurora Organic didn't pay
him for access to his pastures, so he didn't provide it. He claims Aurora
Organic broke promises to him and used him to create the illusion of
pasture-roaming cows: "They blew so much smoke, they looked like the train
from 'Petticoat Junction."' Wells is smoking his own pipe, say Aurora Organic
officials. "He is a former supplier," said Clark Driftmier, Aurora Organic's
vice president of marketing. "We terminated relations with him earlier this
year. He became disgruntled and decided to make false and disparaging
statements about our company." So I spent hours on the phone Monday listening
to allegations and counterallegations regarding milk production, organic
standards and the unfortunate lives of cows. Folks from Aurora Organic told
me Wells pulled out a gun and chased their employees off his ranch. No police
report was filed. Wells categorically denies wielding a gun and said the
allegation was invented to discredit him. "They are gonna twist this thing,"
Wells said. "I heard they are getting ready to sue me. That's fine. I don't
care. They can bring a $400-an-hour attorney to the table and I'll bring the
truth, and we'll see who wins." For now, Wells is providing new ammunition
for the Cornucopia Institute, a small, Wisconsin-based group that advocates
"economic justice for the family-scale farms." Earlier this year, Cornucopia
complained to the U.S. Agriculture Department that Aurora Organic wasn't
living up to organic standards. The department dismissed the complaint.
Earlier this month, though, Cornucopia filed a new complaint, based primarily
on a visit to Wells' ranch. "It's a confinement farm masquerading as
something organic," Cornucopia co-founder Mark Kastel said of Aurora Organic,
which has more than 5,000 dairy cows. "You can't manage that many cows and
logistically move them" from milking operations to pastures, Kastel said. Not
so, said Driftmier, who says that as a small-farm activist, Kastel simply
resents anything big. "Cornucopia is a renegade activist group who has on
several occasions distributed false and disparaging information about us,"
Driftmier said. "In each case, the accusations were found to be entirely
without merit. ... They throw as much mud on the wall as possible and expect
us to go back and clean it off." I knew I could not get to the bottom of this
spat, so I called Dave Carter, a Coloradan who serves on the National Organic
Standards Board, which advises the USDA. Carter also knows folks at Aurora
Organic and Cornucopia. "This is frustrating," he told me. "I've been on the
standards board for five years, and this has been a continuing point of
concern." To be organically certified, cows must have access to pasture, but
the law doesn't specify how much access. It's so vague, organic ranchers
could come to any number of interpretations, Carter told me, adding that
Aurora Organic is advocating a broad interpretation. "Their interpretation of
'access to pasture' is beyond what the regulations intended to provide,"
Carter said. Please, don't tell the cows, though. There's huge demand for
organic milk, and they are too busy producing it to be bothered with all this
petty bickering. Al Lewis' column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
Respond to Al at, 303-820-1967 or

The World Wide Fund aka the World Wildlife Fund Supports Killing Elephants in South Africa! Am I Just Confused, or Does This Not Make Sense?

Well, well, well, The World Wide Fund is at it again. Yes, it is the same group as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF is still known as the World Wildlife Fund in the United States of America and in Canada - this was from their website). This time supporting killing elephants! Wow. Perhaps they need to change their name to something like the World Wide Fund for Bloated Bureaucracy Parading as Conservationists. Interesting logo I bet.

Hard to believe that a group that describes itself as the following would actually get behind killing of species! Idiocy, stupidity and hypocrisy rolled up into one. "Known worldwide by its panda logo, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) leads international efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats. Now in its fifth decade, WWF works in more than 100 countries around the globe to conserve the diversity of life on earth. With nearly 1.2 million members in the U.S. and another 4 million worldwide, WWF is the world's largest privately financed conservation organization."

Is it me, or am I missing something???

Story at:

Elephant Culling Splits Wildlife Groups

By CLARE NULLIS, Associated Press WriterMon Nov 28, 9:32 PM ET

Wildlife groups meeting with South Africa's environment minister Monday were split over a proposal to cull the growing elephant population in the country's flagship national park.

The Environmental Affairs and Tourism Ministry said earlier this year it was considering resuming the elephant kills in Kruger National Park, one of South Africa's top tourist attractions, on the advice of South African National Parks officials.

South Africa stopped culling in 1995, partly because of local and international pressure.

"The Kruger National Park attracts 1.3 million tourists a year and South Africa's reputation as a custodian of wildlife can only suffer if the shooting starts again," Jason Bell-Leask, southern African director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said in a statement Monday.

Bell-Leask called culling a "cruel, unethical and a scientifically unsound practice" and said the government should first consider other options such as the use of cross-border "megaparks" to allow greater movement of elephants between countries, and more widespread use of contraception.

The World Wide Fund for Nature expressed support for the government approach, however, saying it was sure culling would not be undertaken without due consideration of alternatives.

"Given elephants' ability to transform an entire landscape, action is needed, or the result will be the mass starvation of elephants and other species," Rob Little, conservation director for WWF South Africa, said in a statement Monday.

Kruger officials have said that without action, the elephant population will triple to 34,000 by 2020, posing a threat to other animals and vegetation in the Israel-sized reserve.

South Africa is consulting neighboring African countries also affected by increasing elephant populations, but there is no regional consensus about how to manage the herds.

Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk has said adjacent parks and game reserves are also full, and that contraception is expensive and poses practical problems.

The Elephants Alive Coalition of environmental groups said tourists would "be disturbed by the prospect that the elephants they enjoy watching and photographing during their safari one day, could easily be hanging upside down from a meat hook ... the next."

Environment Ministry spokesman J.P. Louw referred to claims that a resumption in elephant kills would prompt a boycott by foreign tourists as "intimidation tactics." He added in an interview that van Schalkwyk was holding consultations with authorities in Europe — the source of most foreign tourists to South Africa — to ensure they understood the problems involved in managing elephants.

Representatives of communities bordering the park are in favor of culling, saying the proceeds would provide badly needed jobs and revenue. They say that, with the increasing population, elephants break through park fences more often and pose a threat to nearby villages.

South Africa slaughtered a total of 14,562 elephants between 1967 and 1994. Without that cull, the population would have rocketed by now to 80,000, according to parks chief executive David Mabunda.

South Africa, Namibia and Botswana all have booming elephant populations, while East African nations such as Kenya struggle to increase their herds, which were decimated by poaching in the 1980s. Trade in ivory has been banned since 1989 to try to combat poaching.

South Africa has repeatedly appealed to the U.N. body monitoring endangered species to lift the ban on trade in ivory to allow the proceeds to be invested in parks.

U.S. Troops Rescue Ethiopian Cheetah Cubs

Good to see the military finally did something positive. Let's hope keeping them on the palace grounds is the right choice.


U.S. Troops Rescue Ethiopian Cheetah Cubs

By ANTHONY MITCHELL, Associated Press WriterTue Nov 29, 2:42 PM ET

U.S. troops flew two endangered cheetah cubs to the Ethiopian capital Tuesday after instigating their rescue from a remote village where a restaurant owner had held them captive and abused them.

The male and female cubs — whom the soldiers named Scout and Patch — were released on the grounds of the Ethiopian president's official residence after their 680-mile journey from the eastern hamlet of Gode.

"This is the first kind of rescue of animals, let alone cheetahs, that we have done," said Sgt. Leah Cobble, 26, of Washington, as she cuddled the two purring cubs on the runway of Bole International Airport before handing them to government veterinarian Fekadu Shiferaw.

The saga of the cubs started last month when U.S. counterterrorism troops, carrying out humanitarian work in the Gode region, discovered the animals' owner was keeping them tied up with ropes around their necks at his restaurant and forcing them to fight each other for the amusement of patrons and village children. One cub is blind in one eye.

The soldiers alerted the Ethiopian government and a U.S.-based cheetah rescue organization, drawing international attention to the cubs' plight. They also tried to persuade restaurant owner Mohamed Hudle to hand over the cubs, but he wanted $1,000 for each animal — 10 times the average income in this impoverished nation of 77 million people.

Fekadu, the veterinarian, intervened. He flew to the village Saturday, confiscated the cubs, and handed them over to U.S. forces for Tuesday's transport. The vet said Mohamed was not paid for the animals and that both had received antibiotic treatment and appeared in good health.

"Had we not had the help of the U.S. military, it would not have been possible to rescue these animals," Fekadu said after arriving with the cubs aboard the U.S. plane.

The cheetah is endangered worldwide because of loss of habitat, poaching and other factors, according to the Ohio-based Cheetah Conservation Fund.

Keeping wild animals is illegal without a license, but Ethiopia's wildlife laws are rarely enforced. Fekadu said the cubs eventually may have been sent to the Middle East as part of the wildlife trafficking trade in this part of Africa.

Mohamed said he bought the cubs from poachers who had kicked the female cub — Patch — in the face, blinding her.

The cubs will now live at the National Palace, home to President Girma Woldegirogis, along with three rescued lions and some vervet monkeys.

But palace animal keeper Kura Tulu said financial help may be needed to give the cubs the best of care. There is only an annual budget of $3,500 to look after all the animals at the palace, Kura said.

U.S. soldiers in the Horn of Africa are part of a task force that provides intelligence-gathering help to countries in the region, tries to bolster cooperation and border protection, and carries out humanitarian projects — digging wells, building bridges, helping construct schools — aimed at improving the U.S. military's image among Muslims.

"This is not the usual kind of support we offer," Cobble said of the cheetah rescue. "This was a way to support the Ethiopian authorities and local leaders and we were happy to do that. It has turned out very well for everyone, but mostly the cheetahs."

Soldiers said the cheetahs, riding in a cardboard box, purred throughout their 1 1/2-hour flight from Gode.

"The cheetahs really brought the soft side out in the troops," Cobble said. "They were all cooing over the cats like children."


On the Net:

Cheetah Conservation Fund:

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Animal rights groups sue to stop bear hunt in New Jersey

Can you believe there are actually wackos that hunt bears?! Amazing. Besides some manly feelings, what would they gain from killing a bear? And if they're so manly, why not put down the guns, etc., and try to take on the bear with they're own physical devices? We’ll see how big of men they are then.

Read on:

Animal rights groups sue to stop bear hunt
Associated Press Writer

November 28, 2005, 9:18 PM EST

TRENTON, N.J. -- Bear hunting opponents on Monday filed a lawsuit to try to stop New Jersey's second bear hunt in 35 years from taking place.

Two animal rights groups filed suit in the Appellate Division of Superior Court to ax the six-day hunt, which is scheduled to begin Dec. 5. A hearing was scheduled for Friday morning.

State officials approved the hunt earlier this month as part of a bear management strategy that advocates say is needed to curb the increasing bear population. A 2003 hunt killed 328 of the animals.

"Our state has a moral and ethical responsibility to properly protect and humanely coexist with the wildlife and animals of New Jersey," said Kevin Barber a lawyer for the groups, the Animal Rights Alliance and the Bear Education and Resource Group.

The state's bears have made a remarkable rebound since the 1970s, when fewer than 100 remained after nearly being eradicated by 19th century hunters who considered bears vermin. The animals now number in the thousands and have been spotted in all 21 counties, but are mainly concentrated in the state's northwestern areas.

The Department of Environmental Protection had no immediate comment on the suit, which names Environmental chief Bradley Campbell, who authorized the hunt, and the Division of Fish and Game, among others.

The suit maintains that the state's black bear management plan is flawed and should be invalidated. It contends the state overestimated its number of black bears and their impact on people and property, and that it failed to explore other alternatives to manage bear-human contact.

"Our state's black bear population should not be viciously hunted next week simply to support the position of a dozen individuals," said Angi Metler, executive director of the state's Animal Rights Alliance chapter.

The state's plan includes a hunt, public awareness campaign and creating bear-free zones near heavily populated areas. The bear exclusion zones encompass Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Union, Middlesex and northern Monmouth counties; the state's midsection in Somerset and Mercer counties; along the western border and the Jersey Shore. Bears wandering into those zones would be relocated or killed if necessary.

The New Jersey Sierra Club, while not part of the suit, has been pressuring acting Gov. Richard J. Codey to halt the hunt. Gov.-elect Jon Corzine said during the campaign for governor that he opposes a bear hunt.

"Codey should stay the execution until the next governor," said Jeff Tittel, executive director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

Tittel also criticized the bear management plan, saying there is no money in the state budget to implement it.

If the six-day hunt goes forward as scheduled, hunting would be permitted in the area north of Interstate 78 and west of Interstate 287. New York and Pennsylvania have similar hunts to help keep their bear populations in check.

While the state does not know how many bears there are, it uses a research area in northern New Jersey to extrapolate data about the population. The bear management plan aims to reduce the number in that area over five years from about 1,600 animals now to the estimated 2002 level _ 1,317 animals.

Animal activists and environmentalists fought unsuccessfully to stop the 2003 hunt, arguing that overbuilding was to blame for increasing bear-human contact and that no impact study had been done.

Last year, the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance sued when Campbell opposed a hunt after the state's Fish and Game Council had approved one. The state Supreme Court canceled the hunt four days before it was to begin, saying that a bear management program was needed first.

Target stores are again selling fur and items with fur.

From another list. This really sucks. Target doesn't need to see these items. Fur is a barbaric practice that is unnecessary. Please read and act. It's very simple. We've done most of the work for you.

Target is selling rabbit fur trimmed hats, gloves, and hair clips as well as fabric hats with rabbit fur woven into them. I contacted them last year, and I see they are selling rabbit fur again this year. I brought it to the attention of my store manager, and he didn't have a clue as to the cruelty involved in these items. He gave me a number to call the buyers, and I also obtained mailing addresses. I called guest relations and mailed a very detailed letter to the buyers with copies to the district managers. I would really like to get on their case about this.

Web form:


Guest Service Representative - please call 1-800-440-0680, state your opinon on the matter and then ask to speak to a supervisor. In addition, get the information for the District Manager or your location. Then, email or call them.

To write letter to the Target buyers:

Mailing Address: Target Stores

Attention: Accessories Buyers

P. O. Box 9350

Minneapolis, MN 55440

Many thanks to those who feel moved to add their voice to the cause of these rabbits.

Monday, November 28, 2005

UN urges protection for dolphins

Let's hope it works this time.

UN urges protection for dolphins
By Richard Black
Environment Correspondent, BBC News website

Small cetaceans are amongst the most charismatic creatures on the planet
Klaus Toepfer, Unep
The United Nations says additional protection measures are needed for
dolphins and small whales.
A new global survey, released at a conservation meeting in Kenya, finds
that more than 70% of species are at risk through snaring in fishing nets.

Other major threats include intentional catching, pollution, habitat
destruction and military sonar.

The UN Environment Programme (Unep) is calling for an upgrade of
international protection on eight species.

It wants the Ganges river dolphin, Atlantic spotted dolphin, Northern
right-whale dolphin and five others species to be given Appendix II status
under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

Existing protection measures on a further seven species should also be
extended, it says.

A CMS summit is taking place this week at Unep headquarters in Nairobi.

Well loved

"Small cetaceans are amongst the most well loved and charismatic creatures
on the planet," said Unep executive director Klaus Toepfer in a statement.

"Sadly these qualities alone cannot protect them from a wide range of
threats; so I fully endorse measures to strengthen their conservation
through the CMS and other related agreements."
Appendix II status does not confer mandatory protection, but is designed
to induce relevant countries to draw up conservation agreements.

Two such agreements for small cetaceans are already in place, one in the
Baltic Sea, the other covering the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

The Unep report attempts to calculate the relative importance of the
various factors which put dolphins and whales at risk.

It finds that 26.5% of the threat comes from accidental bycatch, 24.9%
from deliberate hunting, and 21.2% from pollution.

Two years ago a scientific study found that about 800 cetaceans die each
day through being snared in fishing nets.

Other factors identitied by the new report include habitat degradation,
depletion of fish stocks on which the cetaceans feed, culling, and noise,
for example from naval sonar.

Dolphins' dive

Mark Simmonds, director of science at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation
Society, believes that the Unep report may underestimate the true scale of
the issue.

"What it's doing is indicating where there's very strong evidence of a
direct threat to a particular species," he told the BBC News website from
the Nairobi meeting, "and it's very difficult to get that kind of

"Many of these species we know very little about, particularly the deep
diving ones.

"On the other hand, we know enough to say that pretty much all the river
dolphins are threatened, and in fact the next mammal to go extinct will
probably be a river dolphin - it's as serious as that."

Further measures are being debated at the CMS meeting, including a
proposal to list the Mediterranean population of the short-beaked dolphin
onto Convention Appendix I.

This would oblige countries around the Med to restore habitat and change
trends which are contributing to the dolphin's demise - in this case,
principally the reduction in stocks of sardines and pilchards which it

Story from BBC NEWS:

Sir Paul McCartney has vowed never to perform in China after seeing horrific undercover footage of dogs and cats being killed for their fur.

All I can say is hell yeah! Right on to Paul McCartney. He's one of the few musicians of the world that actually does what he says. Right on to him. China is absolutely brutal when it comes to issues involving non-human animals. Just disgusting. China is by far one of the most egregious animal abusing countries in the world.

Here's the story:

McCartney attacks China over fur
By Adrian Addison
BBC Six O'clock News!

Sir Paul wants China to bring in new laws to stop the practice

Sir Paul McCartney has vowed never to perform in China after seeing
horrific undercover footage of dogs and cats being killed for their fur.
The former Beatle also said he would boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics
after viewing the! footage taken in a fur market in Guangzhou, southern
The film shows animals being thrown from a bus, and into boiling water.
A Chinese official said boycotts were not justified, and blamed US and
European consumers for buying the fur.
In the film, dogs and cats packed by the dozen into wire cages little
bigger than lobster pots are pictured being thrown from the top deck of a
converted bus onto concrete pavements.
The screaming animals, many with their paws now smashed from the fall,
are then lifted out with long metal tongs and thrown over a seven foot
Some are senselessly beaten by laughing and smiling workers.
All are then killed and skinned for their fur - many are believed still
to be alive as their skins are peeled away! .

I wouldn't even dream of going over there to play in the same way I
wouldn't go to a country that supported apartheid

Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Paul, and his wife Heather, looked aghast and close to tears as they
watched the footage for a special report for the BBC's Six O'clock News
to be screened on Monday.
They urged people not to buy Chinese goods.
"This is barbaric. Horrific," said Sir Paul.
"It's like something out of the dark ages. And they seem to get a kick
out it. They're just sick, sick people.
"I wouldn't even dream of going over there to play, in the same way I
wouldn't go to a country that supported apartheid. This is just
disgusting. It's just against every rule of humanity. I couldn't go
In another piece of the harrowing footage, shot this summer by an
undercover investigator connected to the People for the Ethical treatment
of Animals (Peta) campaign group, cats are seen squirming inside a sack
which is then thrown into a vat of steaming water.
Olympic host
They are boiled to death and skinned by a fleecing machine similar to a
launderette tumble drier.
Campaigners estimate that over two million dogs and cats are killed for
their fur in China every year. China also farms animals such as mink for
their fur and makes over half of the world's fur products.
McCartney added: "How can the ! host nation of the Olympics be seen
allowing animals to be treated in this terrible way?"
Heather McCartney, herself a vociferous animal rights campaigner added:
"I've seen so much footage where these poor creatures are clearly alive
when they're skinned. And for what? For fashion? It's sick.
"People in every other country in the world should now boycott Chinese

Dogs were seen in grim conditions
"If they want to consider themselves a civilized nation," said Sir Paul,
! "they're going to have to stop this."
A spokesman for the Chinese Ambassador in London told the BBC: "Though
cats and dogs are not endangered, we do not encourage the ill treatment
of cats and dogs.
"But, anyway, the fur trade mostly feeds markets in the US and Europe.
This fur is not consumed in China. So the Americans and Europeans should
accept the blame.
"We have no plans to clamp down on this internally that I am aware of -
it is for the US and Europeans to take their own action. They should
boycott fur as a fashion material.
"I do not agree with Mr McCartney and his wife's point of view - a
boycott of Chinese goods and the Olympics is simply not justifiable."
It is not currently illegal to trade in dog and cat fur in the UK and
most of Europe.
Ethical abhorrence
But the UK government sees any legislation as being a European issue - as
once the fur enters Europe from China, free trade and the difficulty of
identifying the fur makes it almost impossible to police.
A DTI spokesman told the BBC: "The government shares the ethical
abhorrence felt by many. That is why it banned by statute fur farming in
the UK in 2000.
"Action is best taken at the EU level as a harmonised approach throughout
the EU would have greater impact and avoid obstacles to the operation of
the single market."
There is little evidence, as yet, of the fur products being sold in the
UK. Campaigners insist they are available up and down the country, but it
is impossible to tell the difference from other fur without the aid of
expensive genetic tests.
The British Fur Trade Association, which represents the boomin g fur
industry in the UK, insists that its members do not knowingly use dog and
cat fur and have introduced a fur labelling system to try to guard
against its use.
"As an industry, we are against any form of animal cruelty," said a
"We deplore and work against the mistreatment of animals. For this
reason, we also actively support and encourage the adoption of Western
fur farming practices on Chinese fur farms."
Ruse accusation
But pro-fur campaigner Richard D North says a European ban is heavy
"This is a ruse by campaigners to attack the legitimate fur trade. Nobody
has ever found a large amount of cat and dog fur in the UK.
"The European fur industry would never use it. Why bother, when there are
lovely skins from properly farmed animals?"
Euro MP Struan Stevenson has an array of cat and dog products in his
Brussels office - including a coat made from Alsatian skin, a pelt made
from four golden retrievers and a blanket made from around 70 cats. All
were bought in Europe.
"It's cheaper to make these things from cat and dog than it is to make
synthetic fur," he told the BBC.
"It really is time for this trade to be banned and the EU border to be
sealed against it. And the new trade commissioner is more than
Markos Kyprianou, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, is
responsible for this area of EU law.
His spokesman, Phillip Todd, told the BBC: "As a human being, the
commissioner abhors this trade and is! very supportive of there being a
ban. There are, however, legal obstacles which would need to be addressed
before a ban could be put in place."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Otters Winning Battle of Wits: Score One for the Little Guys

Nice. I've always been for under dogs. Score one for the otter. Keep it up little guys!!!!

Otters winning battle of wits

Wildlife officials may give up on relocation plan

SANTA BARBARA, California (AP) -- Greg Sanders once stalked his chief
nemesis -- an otter nicknamed Phoky -- for 24 days.

When Sanders, a biologist, finally captured the critter at Southern
California's Anacapa Island, he shipped Phoky north to Monterey under an
ambitious federal program to preserve otters while protecting shellfish
divers from natural competition.

But within six months, Phoky was back in forbidden waters. He was one of
dozens of otters that surprised government biologists at almost every
turn. Now, it seems, officials are throwing in the towel.

In an admission that the slick-furred creatures refuse to respect
boundaries imposed by man, authorities want to officially abandon their
otter-relocation policy.

If the government's battle of wits is at an end, the otters have won.

"This concept of taking animals and putting them in one place and
expecting them to stay where we want them ... wasn't really working," said
Sanders, 44, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist.

The agency is taking public comment through January in hopes of scuttling
the program, which cost several million dollars before it tailed off in
1993. Fishermen want the existing policy enforced.

Environmentalists praise the idea of letting otters go where they want,
saying it will aid the recovery of a species hunted almost to extinction.

By the end of the 19th century, an otter population of 16,000 that had
stretched from Mexico to Oregon had dwindled to 50 otters in a secluded
cove off Big Sur. Today there about 2,700 southern otters off California's
coast, according to estimates.

To appease fishermen, Fish and Wildlife banned otters in 1987 from
California waters south of Point Conception near Santa Barbara -- with one

Fearful that an oil spill could wipe out otters elsewhere, the agency
tried to create a reserve for 150 otters on San Nicholas Island, about 80
miles south of Santa Barbara.

Biologists had thought the otters would stay near San Nicholas, which has
plenty of food and is surrounded by deep water that is hard to swim
across. Even if the otters wanted to leave, it seemed improbable that they
had the navigation skills to do it -- especially since they were taken to
the island by plane.

"We flew 'em out there," Sanders said, "although we didn't blindfold

The otters didn't play along. Some swam up to 200 miles to return to
native habitat along the Central Coast.

Fishermen and seafood processors say federal officials never did enough --
and complain that lobster and urchin fishing could be devastated if otters
continue roaming Southern California waters.

"It comes down to a philosophy of, what do you believe in? Do you believe
in animals or do you believe in human beings?" said Robert S. Juntz Jr.,
president of the Sea Urchin Processors Association and owner of a
processing plant in Mendocino County that employs about 45 people.

Otters are good at getting their prey -- but getting otters was never so

After waiting for an otter to fall asleep, wildlife crews would sneak up
beneath it with a propeller-powered craft manned by a diver and snare it
in a net. The otter then would be flown in a chartered plane or driven
hundreds of miles to a Northern California beach for re-release. Some died
from the stress.

Total cost: $6,000 to $12,000 per otter.

But before officials can catch an otter, they have to spot it. One recent
day, as part of the agency's fall otter survey, Sanders spent two hours
near the University of California at Santa Barbara, peering through a
telescope at a kelp bed where something resembling an otter had been seen
the day before.

Sanders perked up when a potential otter bobbed near the surface, but it
turned out to be a harbor seal. Or a log. Lots of things look like otters.

"You get these harbor seals that fake you out," Sanders said.

Sometimes, though, Sanders catches a break -- as in the incident he refers
to as "the drive-by sighting."

Years ago, Sanders got a call from a lifeguard who had been cruising along
coastal Highway 101 near Ventura when he spotted what he thought was an
otter. Sanders was incredulous, but decided to follow up.

It turned out to be Phoky.

A few weeks ago, Sanders and other wildlife officials marked the 15th
anniversary of Phoky's first capture near Anacapa. Phoky, though, didn't
make it to the celebration. He had better places to be.

Last Sanders heard, the otter was rumored to be in Mexico.

Find this article at:

Hunting Animals in Pennsylvania: They Find One More Way to Kill

I don't see why they can't just stick to one way to kill. Must be getting bored.

Pa. May Let Hunters Use Ancient Weapon

By MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press WriterFri Nov 18, 4:54 AM ET
An ancient weapon that was apparently used as early as prehistoric times
to slay woolly mammoths may soon be added to the arsenals of Pennsylvania

The state Game Commission is drafting proposed regulations to allow
hunters to use the atlatl, a small wooden device that propels a six-foot
dart as fast as 80 mph. The commission could vote in January and make a
final decision in April, officials said.

It's not yet clear which animals would be hunted, but the proposal has the
support of people who want to kill deer with the handmade weapon of Stone
Age design.

"For me, it would be a thrill to have a deer get up close enough and to
throw my dart and hit the deer, bag it like my ancestors did," said Jack
Rowe, 45, a veteran hunter and atlatl enthusiast from Sayre.

In Alabama, one of a handful of states that allows atlatls for hunting or
fishing, few hunters use them during deer season, said Allan Andress,
chief fish and game enforcement officer for the state Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources.

Even spear hunters
Alabama game law also allows spears
outnumber those using atlatls.

"As you might imagine, it's not something that most people have the skill
or the patience for," Andress said.

Pennsylvania Atlatl Association president Gary L. Fogelman, who got the
atlatl bug about 20 years ago, said he doubts large numbers of deer will
ever be killed with the weapon.

"You've got to know what you're doing, you've got to be good with all the
outdoor skills in order to be able to score with this thing," said
Fogelman, who publishes Indian Artifact Magazine.

To use an atlatl
the name is derived from an Aztec word for "throwing board"
hunters hook arrowlike hunting darts into the end of the weapon, which is
generally a wooden piece about 2 feet long. The leverage of the atlatl
allows them to throw the 5- to 8-foot darts much farther than they could
throw a spear.

At BPS Engineering in Manhattan, Mont., a leading manufacturer of atlatls,
owner Bob Perkins said customers pay $140 for a 2-foot maple
production-line model, the Warrior, and a set of five 5 1/2-foot aluminum

Perkins has killed two deer with atlatls and recently killed his first

"Atlatls were the first true weapon system developed by the human race,"
he said. "Comparatively speaking, the bow and arrow was a recent
development in projectile technology."

There is evidence the weapons were used more than 8,000 years ago in
Pennsylvania, said Kurt Carr, an archaeologist with the Pennsylvania
Historical and Museum Commission.

Prehistoric atlatls have a distinctive counterweight feature called a
winged banner stone that has helped confirm their existence. Atlatl use
goes back far as 12,000 years elsewhere in North America and far longer in

"It takes some practice, but it's like the bow and arrow. I can't shoot a
bow and arrow for beans, but I can use an atlatl more effectively," he

The World Atlatl Association, which has 380 members, has held an annual
accuracy contest since the mid-1990s, and this year more than 2,000 people

"People that are interested in archaeology and ancient history are the
ones that seem to be drawn to it," said association president Richard B.
Lyons, a retired firefighter from Jeffersonville, Ind.

Game Commissioner Roxane Palone, who generally supports legalization of
atlatl hunting, said some other game commissioners probably will join her
in voting in favor of its use.

"It's a good way to expand hunting opportunities," she said. "I don't
think it's any more unusual than people who use long bows to hunt."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Elephant Explosion Triggers Cull Row: Another Example that Shows the Ridiculous Nature of the Kill Argument when Looking at "Overpopulation"

We see it time and time again - a population of some species is defined as overpopulated. Then, the only response is to kill. Well, let's consider two important things when showing the ridiculous nature of the kill argument:

One, overpopulation mostly does not occur. It is simply a population staying near to it's numbers, but human encroachment on their lands forces the species to have a smaller area to roam, and of course, puts them closer to human habitation. Being closer to human habitation makes humans mistakenly believe that the population has grown. Idiotic if you really look at it. Plus, if you look at it on the flip side, wouldn't it be more logical to say that the constant growth of the human population and its related encroachment would lead humans and the animals they are affecting to see that as overpopulation. After all, by this definition, humans have clearly expanded beyond their normal boundaries.

Which brings me to the second point:

If the argument is to cull or kill segments of a population of animal that has grown beyond their natural boundaries, then wouldn’t it logically follow from what I mentioned in the first point that the animal affected by this growth should argue for a cull? Well, if they could, and logic was maintained amongst all species, then yes, they logically could.

So, you see the ridiculous nature of the cull or kill argument. Management is the key. This is clearly stated in the following article. And, with the writing that follows the article. Please read all:

The first article: (another good response follows this article)

Elephant explosion triggers cull row
By Sam Wilson
BBC News

Kruger National Park's elephant population has nearly doubled
The systematic slaying of thousands of elephants is a subject always
likely to stir emotions.

So it has been in South Africa, where the government has opened a public
consultation on proposals to resume an elephant cull.

In the highly charged debate, opponents refer to the "murder" of
elephants, while cull-supporters warn of a "holocaust" among other species
if elephants go unchecked.

South Africa's Sunday Independent has played host to the argument on its
opinion and letters pages.

"Letters from our readers have been overwhelmingly against culling. The
idea appals them," says the paper's deputy editor Andrew Walker.

The outcry now may be nothing compared to the response if and when TV
images show rangers in helicopters herding elephants into small groups,
downing them with tranquiliser and then finishing them off with a
high-calibre shot to the head.

Rapid growth

The irony is that the explosion in animal numbers is due to the success of
conservation projects, and measures to counter poaching and

In Kruger National Park, some 13,000 elephants now roam - nearly double
the 7,000 that was considered the optimum number during South Africa's
apartheid years, when culling took place regularly.

It is recommended that application of lethal means, specifically culling,
be approved as part and parcel of a range of options
Elephant Management Report
SA National Parks
SANParks report (306K)
Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Download the reader here

The repopulation of elephants since culling was stopped in 1994 has been
so dramatic that it threatens other species, and the elephants' own

An animal with a large range, a long lifespan, a huge appetite and no
predators is trampling less robust creatures underfoot.

Elephants can turn woodland into grassland - killing off the majestic
baobab trees that can be thousands of years old, and depriving birds like
vultures, eagles and ground hornbills of places to nest.

They have also been blamed for driving rhinos off their ranges, and
threatening delicate botanical assets.

"They are converter animals - habitat engineers - they will modify their
habitat if allowed to do so," says Rob Little, director of conservation at
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Africa.

South Africa National Parks (Sanparks) has recommended a return to culling
to save the country's flora and fauna before it is too late.

"Culling should certainly be retained as an option," says WWF's Mr Little.

Elephants live long lives, making passive measures less effective

The government insists it has not yet made its mind up, and is considering
all options.

"This is spoken about at a very emotive level - this government prefers
not to decide what's best for its country on the basis of emotion," says
JP Louw, director of communications at South Africa's environment

Some groups, however, believe the deal is done and the 18-month
consultation will be more about persuading domestic and international
public opinion.


The International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) insists there is no
scientific proof that elephants threaten biodiversity and says there is no
way they should be culled until there is concrete proof of the damage they

"Sanparks is looking at elephants in a vacuum. They need to adopt a far
more holistic approach," Ifaw's South Africa director Jason Bell-Leask
told the BBC News website.

To say we should wait is to say 'wait until everything is destroyed'
JP Louw
SA environment ministry

He advocates allowing greater migration of elephant groups between parks
and countries in southern Africa.

Others point to successful projects to transport elephants to
less-populated areas, and to use contraceptives.

A two-year experiment with contraception in South Africa's Greater
Makalali game reserve used darts filled with a hormone that prevented any
female elephants from giving birth.

However, experts say a programme to immunise the 5,000 cow elephants in
the Kruger, and to track them all for further booster shots, would be
unfeasible both in terms of cost and logistics.

Moreover, because elephants live long lives, it would have no immediate
effect on their numbers, and the damage they wreak.

Zimbabwe would like to move herds to Namibia

"We're researching how contraception can be used as an effective method,"
says JP Louw.

"At present we don't know anyone able to tell us that contraception works.

"The option of translocation we continue to test. But this problem of
overpopulation is a problem across southern Africa, not just South Africa
- other countries have their own problems."

Botswana and Zambia have overpopulations of elephants and want to conduct
culls that would allow them to sell the ivory.

On Monday, Zimbabwe said 50 elephants had died "because of shortage of
water and pasture" in a western reserve, and that it wanted to cull or
move herds to Namibia.

As the debate rages on, officials insist that doing nothing is not an

"To say we should wait is to say 'wait until everything is destroyed',"
South Africa's Mr Louw says. "That is definitely not responsible


Comments from Kristal Parks an individual who has spent considerable time with this issue. Please read her comments below and visit her site at:

I think you may recall that I spent a month in S. Africa (last Spring) working
on elephant contraception (at a private reserve) which DOES work. But
Kruger officials refuse to use it on the elys in their park. I also
spent 11 hours a day for six days driving around Kruger park trying to
find all the elephants who are doing all the damage they claim. I found
a few bull elys but no female herds. It is all so much bull shit. The
S. Africans just want to kill elys for their meat, skin and ivory which
they are stock piling, just waiting for the moment when the ban on ivory
is overturned which they try to do at every CITES (Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species) meeting. Kruger Park is 6
million acres. They have 12,000 elys. That is 500 acres/ elephant. I
don't think they are having a problem with over population! Also, it is
known by those who have studied the behavior of elephants over a long
period of time, that elys will monitor their birth rate according to the
conditions of their environment (unlike humans, I might add). Such a
person is Cynthia Moss who has monitored the same herds of elys for
almost 40 years in Kenya (where I also visited for a month) and she
says: "Elephants will not eat themselves out of house and home".

You will be interested to know that Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton said this
to me: "Any species that over populates to the detriment of other
species needs to be curtailed. But I would no more advocate the culling
of elephants than I would humans because of who elephants are, sentient,
feeling animals..."

S. Africa is still in the stone age and although apartheid was overcome
for humans, oppression continues for its animals, especially elephants.
Canned hunting is legal and encouraged there.

I think the whole world should be in an uproar over their barbaric and
obscene intentions to slaughter this glorious and highly evolved animal.

For elephants,

Kristal Parks

EU Plans to Cut Animal Tests - An Excellent Step to Ending the Use of Animals in Research and Testing

An excellent step. Hopefully U.S. companies will follow but I doubt it. I'm wondering though why this is constantly talked about when excellent alternatives to animal testing already exist.

For more information on the alternatives to animal testing or animal tests, visit the following pages:

Read on:

Nov. 16, 2005

EU plans to cut animal tests

Industry groups pledge to collaborate on refining,
reducing, and replacing the use of lab animals

By Stephen Pincock

A leading animal rights organization in Europe has
given a cautious thumbs-up to a pledge made by
industry groups last week to help the European Union
expedite the search for new alternatives to animal

At a meeting in Brussels hosted by the European
Commissioners for Enterprise and Research, Günter
Verheugen and Janez Potoènik – along with groups
representing the chemical, cosmetic, pharmaceutical,
biotechnology, soap and detergents, animal health, and
crop protection industries -- signed a joint
declaration on the "3 Rs"-- refining, reducing and
replacing the use of lab animals.

"We think it is a very promising initiative," said
Marlou Heinen from the Eurogroup for Animal Welfare,
an umbrella group for some 19 animal welfare
organizations. "But we see it very much as a first
step—whether it will be an actual success will very
much depend on how this is going to be implemented."

The ultimate goal of the partnership is to eliminate
the use of animals in testing altogether, Verheugen
said in a statement. "We do not only wish to reduce
animal testing, but also want to bring it to an end in
the long run."

So far, the details on how that is going to be
achieved are yet to be worked out. The declaration
commits the signatories to developing an action plan,
which they are due to deliver by early in 2006, said
Sebastian Marx from Colipa, the cosmetic industry
group. "Then the real flesh will be put on the bones,"
he told The Scientist.

Colin Humphris, spokesman for the chemicals industry
group Cefic, agreed that the partners were "feeling
our way" in terms of how the collaboration might work.
"But what I think is important is that when you bring
together these different sectors, you bring together
different programs of work that relate to this area,"
he told The Scientist. "There's some common interest

As many as 10.7 million animals are used annually for
experiments in the EU according to figures quoted by
the European Union. More than half of these are used
in research, human medicine, dentistry and fundamental
biological studies. Another 16 percent are used in
production and quality control of products and devices
in human and veterinary medicine and dentistry, and 10
percent for toxicology and other types of safety

In 1986, an EU directive insisted that whenever an
alternative to an animal experiment exists, it has to
be used, and called for support to make such
alternatives available. But the timing of the current
initiative had a lot to do with another proposed EU
directive that could have the opposite effect of the
earlier directive.

That new law, under debate at the moment, is REACH
(Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of
Chemical Substances), a framework designed to gather
better information on the chemical substances that
reached the market before 1981.

REACH would require testing of those old substances to
evaluate their health and environmental risks. The
trouble is, Verheugen said, the proposal as it stands
could require millions more animal tests. "REACH is
not ethically acceptable if it leads to such excessive
additional use of animals. I will do everything I can
to change the current proposal in this respect," he
said in a report on the Euractive news service.

Marx said the imminent arrival of the REACH rules was
a big impetus for last week's animal testing
declaration. "This is not really a response to the
actions of animal rights groups," he said. "We have
new legislation coming and we need to do something."

The declaration signed last week commits the
signatories to making a progress report at about the
same time next year. For Heinen, this is another
positive sign. "That will enable us and other
stakeholders to see that the promises are being met."
A key sign of success will be evidence of extra
financial commitment from industry, she said.

Links for this article

"Reducing animal testing: Commission agrees
partnership with industry," European Commission press

Günter Verheugen

Janez Potoènik

European Partnership to Promote Alternative Approaches
to Animal Testing: 3 Rs Declaration

Eurogroup for Animal Welfare


"Commission-industry partnership aims to reduce animal
testing," Euractive, November 5, 2005.

EU directive, "Protection of animals used for
experimental purposes."

S. Pincock, "UK extremist attacks drop," The
Scientist, August 5, 2005.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Gorillas Take Stab at Mind Games

Obviously, I hate zoos. So, although zoos are mentioned here, they are done so in a context of behavior and not support. The main point to take from this is that Gorillas are primates (as are humans) and as such have the capability for developing and using tools for certain goals. I say duh..this is common sense, but a lot out there fail to realize the commonalities amongst a species. And, even more, most proclaim all primates except for humans as "stupid." Well, perhaps this article helps to show who the stupid one really is. It certainly isn't Gorillas.
From: Masako Miyaji

Posted on Fri, Nov. 04, 2005

Gorillas take stab at mind games

Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO - When reports came out of Africa in recent
weeks that researchers for the first time in history
were seeing wild gorillas using sticks and rocks as
tools, keepers at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo weren't
exactly surprised.

Earlier this year, zoo researchers watched two female
gorillas figure out how to use sticks to retrieve two
of their favorite snack foods - ketchup and mustard -
from holes in a fake termite mound. It took weeks, but
the apes finally learned that if they inserted a stick
of the right length into the holes, the stick would
come out coated with a slurpable treat.

Already they had watched as zoo gorillas tackled "food
puzzles," or lengths of PVC pipe sealed at each end,
pierced with holes and stuffed with raisins or peanut
butter. Sometimes the apes shook treats out of the
holes, but other times they seemed to use sticks to
dig at the food, a behavior that could be construed as
tool use.

"We had seen our gorillas do this, as had keepers at
other zoos, but because gorillas aren't known to be
tool users in the wild, it was thought this knowledge
of captive gorillas using them was not applicable,"
said Elizabeth Lonsdorf, the zoo's director of
conservation resources.

But in late September, field researchers in the
Republic of Congo reported they had seen a female
lowland gorilla use long sticks to gauge water depth
while walking through a swamp pond. A different female
selected and laid down a dead tree trunk to cross a
deep swamp patch.

Other researchers at a lowland gorilla sanctuary in
Congo reported last month on an orphaned, 2
1/2-year-old female gorilla who smashes palm nuts
between rocks to extract oil - an even more complex
behavior known as the "hammer and anvil" technique.

This proof that tool use is a natural behavior for
gorillas represents a surprisingly profound discovery.
Previously it was thought humans and chimpanzees were
the only primates that have the cognitive powers
needed to fashion and use tools to accomplish certain
tasks. Seeing gorillas use tools indicates that
cognitive power probably occurred far earlier in
history than previously thought, when all the great
apes had a common ancestor.

It also points up the irony, said Lonsdorf that only
in the recent past has science begun to study man's
closest genetic relatives - gorillas, chimps and
orangutans - just when human activity has wild apes on
a fast path to extinction.

"Before we really get to know and understand their
lives in the wilderness, they could be gone," Lonsdorf

Lonsdorf said it doesn't surprise her that scientists
are only now observing tool use by gorillas in the

"Most of what we know about wild gorillas is from a
very small population of mountain gorillas, who live
in an atypical environment for their species,"
Lonsdorf said. "Mountain gorillas live in a salad
bowl, feeding on a relatively narrow selection of
easily obtainable fruits and leaves that they have no
trouble finding or eating."

For that reason, they have little incentive to develop

With fewer than 700 mountain gorillas left, zoos keep
and breed only lowland gorillas. Though more numerous
than their mountain cousins, far less is known about
lowland gorillas in the wild because they live in
heavily forested, swampy terrain where it is difficult
to find them and even harder to follow them for

As big logging companies have begun clear-cutting
their forests in recent years, however, scientists
have increased efforts to get in the swamps and learn
about them in hopes of slowing the wholesale
destruction of their world. The discovery of the two
females using tools in the swamp in the Republic of
Congo grew out of those efforts.

Soon after Lincoln Park moved its resident troops of
lowland gorillas and chimpanzees into the zoo's new
apehouse in July 2004, Lonsdorf and her colleagues
started a comparative study of tool use between
gorillas and chimps.

One of the ape habitats in the building is equipped
with a fake termite mound. Because it is built flush
to a viewing window, the public can see into the
mound's hollow interior.

That is where keepers can attach tubes filled with
mustard or ketchup to small holes that are open to the
apes and allow them to smell the treats.

Keepers leave sticks and straw of varying lengths near
the mound, but it is up to the apes to decide to pick
up a stick or stem and try to insert it into a hole.
If the stick is long enough, it will come out coated
with the condiment.

The experiment started with a troop of chimps known as
Hank's group after one of its male leaders. In the
wild, chimps learn from their mothers to "fish" for
termites to eat by carefully poking sticks and straw
into termite mound holes.

"The chimps caught on the very first day," said
Lonsdorf, "at least the female chimps did. From then
on ... they would get so excited when they heard
keepers inside the termite mound, they were sticking
their sticks through the hole before the mustard tubes
were attached. It got so I worried they'd poke a
keeper's eye out."

The male chimps weren't so quick to pick up on the
technique, she said, which also is the case in the

"One little male in Hank's group tried it
unsuccessfully," she said, and other young males
didn't try at all. "It took Hank four weeks to catch

Last January, keepers moved Hank's group out and
brought in a gorilla group headed by JoJo, a
silverback. Unlike the chimps, JoJo's family had
frequently played with the PVC pipe food puzzles in
the past.

"We baited our termite holes at random times between
11 a.m. and 2 p.m., sometimes two days a week,
sometimes three," said Lonsdorf. "We don't want them
to become accustomed to it through routine."

The gorillas, especially the adult females, quickly
noticed something was happening when they heard the
keepers inside the mound after two weeks of no treats.
Ignoring the sticks under their feet, they'd spend 15
or 20 minutes trying fruitlessly to stick their
fingers into the holes before losing interest.

"It took almost two months before any of the gorillas
figured it out," Lonsdorf said. The two adult females,
Makari, 18, and Bahati, 15, were the ones who

No other gorillas ever learned to use the sticks.

Early in September, keepers switched Hank's group back
in. As the research continues, JoJo's family likely
will be returned to the habitat at some point next
year to see if more gorillas learn how to use the

"It's a good situation for comparative studies in
which the chimps and gorillas are given the
opportunity to do the same tasks in the same
environment," Lonsdorf said.

She and the zoo's chief animal behaviorist, Steve
Ross, already are trying to devise a second tool
experiment, providing hard-shelled nuts to the apes
and a hammer-like object to break them open.

The trick for the scientists is to figure out how they
can add a big rock to the exhibit that is anchored
with an unbreakable chain or cable so it can't be
carried away by the animals.

"Obviously we can't leave a big boulder in there,"
said Lonsdorf, "because JoJo or Hank might try tossing
it through a window."

More than 100 Homeless 'Katrina Dogs' Found Suffering in Shelter

A few reasons to post this.

1. Shows that you should never just trust a place that has the word shelter in it's name.

2. Shows the devastation caused to dogs and cats from Hurricane Katrina.

3. Shows that desperate needs still exist for those to save and adopt (more at


More than 100 Homeless 'Katrina Dogs' Found Suffering in Shelter
The Deplorable Conditions Most Likely a Case of Animal Hoarding, Experts Say

Nov. 15, 2005 — - Adding horror to heartbreak, about 107 dogs rescued from the streets of hurricane-battered New Orleans didn't make it to happy homes -- or even clean, well-stocked animal shelters.

Instead, these dogs had the misfortune of ending up in deplorable conditions with about 400 other dogs in the Every Dog Needs a Home shelter in Gamaliel, Ark.

Discovered by authorities in late October, the scenario was stomach-turning: The estimated 477 dogs, three goats and two cats were steeping in filth. Many were injured, most were aggressive, and almost all of them were cramped. At least six dogs were dead, some still in transport containers.

"They were standing in their own filth, feces, urine," said Humane Society of the United States volunteer Desiree Bender in a report published by the society. "Their paws were burning, bleeding. You couldn't get close to them at first. They were so aggressive. They had not been walked or moved, and they were in such pain."

Bender was referring to several "Katrina dogs" who apparently had not been let out of their cages since being taken from New Orleans by Tammy and William Hanson, who operated the shelter.

Animal rescue experts say that what authorities had stumbled upon was a case of "animal hoarding," in which animals are collected by a pet owner who becomes overwhelmed by the responsibility to care for them. While the pets suffer in unimaginable conditions, the owner sinks into a bizarre denial about the conditions and will continue to accumulate pets. It is thought to be closely linked to mental illness, although it is still a new area of research.

'Crazy Cat Ladies'

Animal hoarders come from all walks of society, says Gary Patronek, director of the Tufts University Center for Animals and Public Policy and the founder of the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium.

Some are the stereotypical "crazy cat ladies," but many are single men, married couples or even the unexpected -- veterinarians and psychiatrists.

"That does suggest a mental health component -- if someone can counsel people all day or deliver healing animal care, and then go home, like some Jekyll and Hyde," he said.

Even though the stench was overwhelming and dead dogs were strewn about the property, the Arkansas shelter's owners insisted in newspaper reports that they were innocent and were pressured into taking in more animals. They both have been arrested and charged with animal cruelty.

"We were overwhelmed with the new dogs arriving, but we were getting it together," William Hanson said Oct. 24 in an interview with The Baxter Bulletin in Mountain Home, Ark. "A week from now it would have been a whole different story."

The Hansons, local authorities and the Humane Society have been trying to hammer out a compromise. Currently, the Humane Society is taking care of the dogs, but the Hansons are still technically the animals' owners, said Melissa Rubin, vice president of the society's field and disaster services.

"The dogs are considered property under the law," Rubin said. "We've fixed up the place and taken care of (Tammy's) animals, but they're still hers."

This case is just one of the thousands of reports annually of animal hoarding, said Randy Frost, a psychology professor at Smith College and a hoarding researcher.

An Addictive Behavior

Some hoarders are individuals who keep the pets in their own homes, others have animal shelters.

"In some ways, people like this serve a function in the community, in that people will often offload their unwanted animals thinking, now it's taken care of, without really exploring what's happening to the animals," Frost said. "That's how many people with animal hoarding problems develop 'collections' -- other people not wanting the animals anymore."

Newspaper reports state that the Hansons refused to let people who dropped off pets to get past a second gate on the property, and that this wasn't Tammy's first run-in with the law. In 2003, she was charged with -- but not convicted of -- animal cruelty in a similar case in Missouri, the Bulletin reported. And in 1994, she was convicted of impersonating a medical doctor.

Animal hoarders are rarely able to stop collecting animals because the condition is like an addiction, Patronek said. Lenient state laws also can mean little jail time or enforced counseling.

"It's like any other addictive behavior -- you can't just say no," he said.

While it's hard to generalize about hoarders, there are some noticeable patterns, Frost said.

"The one characteristic that cuts through all of it is a failure to appreciate the living conditions. There may be some recognition that it's not good, but yet it's not considered dire," he said. And "these folks come to look at these animals as somehow being independent or possessing human-like characteristics ... so the person is absolved of taking care of the animal."

This may stem from an erratic childhood upbringing in which the hoarder's only sense of stability or love came from a beloved family pet, Patronek said. "There's something there to give them unconditional love regardless of what the rest of their world is like. It's an attempt to fulfill all these unmet human needs that can't possibly be filled by these animals. That's why they try to acquire more." Hoarders usually suffer from a variety of mental illnesses, such as depression. But where things go really awry -- and what is hardest to understand -- is why the animals are allowed to suffer. Chalk that up to human adaptability, Frost said. The person reaches a breaking point and can no longer care for the animals, but also doesn't want to give up the animals.

"The person habituates to living in an environment that is compromised. Often it's not just the animals that are living in these conditions. The human beings are too," Frost said. "For some reason, their sense of appropriate living space, including their sense of smell, has habituated to an environment that most us find intolerable."

Friday, November 11, 2005

Trader Joe’s Opts to Sell Only Cage-Free Eggs

A great step and a great victory. Definitely on the right track.

Trader Joe’s ‘chickens out,’ opts to sell only cage-free

By Jennifer Heldt Powell
Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Trader Joe’s plans to free the chickens.

The grocer, under intense customer pressure organized by animal
rights activists, said it will no longer put its name on eggs laid by
chickens confined to tiny cages.

“Customers looking for cage-free eggs will need to look no further
than the Trader Joe’s label,” the company said in a statement.

It’s a great day for chickens, said Paul Shapiro, who is organizing
the anti-cage campaign for the Humane Society of the United States.

Commonly, commercial egg-laying hens are kept in cages so small they
can’t spread their wings, walk around or engage in natural behaviors such
as nesting or dust bathing, he said.

“The abuse these birds endure is so immense that no socially
responsible company should support it,” Shapiro said.

The cage-free birds can be confined inside, as long as they’re not
stuck in cages. That’s a compromise from calling for free-range birds,
which are allowed to wander in and out.

Other grocers who’ve signed on to the cage-free movement include
Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Natural Marketplace.

Although some countries have banned the cages, the Humane Society for
now is focusing on customer pressure rather than new laws to change
practices in the United States.

A very creative way of discussing and showing the truth behind animal testing. ANIMAL TESTING IS FUN WITH PROFESSOR VITZERDOOBLE!

From another group. Very good. You really all need to see this. A very creative way of discussing and showing the truth behind animal testing.

Ever wondered what goes on in the minds of scientists who test on animals?
World renowned Professor Vitzerdooble has produced a new public information
film to explain why using animals is still the best way to test chemicals.
With the help of his “little friends” – the animals in his laboratory – the
Professor answers criticisms that animal testing is cruel, outdated,
expensive and inaccurate.

You really don’t know about animal testing until you’ve seen this.

See the film at

The short film Testing Today with Professor Vitzerdooble has been brought
to you by the BUAV, in the interests of a fair and open debate. Please
forward it to as many people as you can.

Hunting Season Opens for Mythical Creature

How does the saying go? "Human, oh so very human."

Hunting Season Opens for Mythical Creature

By KARL RITTER, Associated Press WriterFri Nov 11,12:35 AM ET

A mythical monster, believed by some to have lived for hundreds of years in the murky depths of a Swedish lake, is now fair game for hunters — if they can find it. Authorities have agreed to lift its endangered species protection.

Hundreds of people claim to have spotted a large serpent-like creature in Lake Storsjon in the northwestern province of Jamtland, and in 1986 the regional council put it on a list of endangered animals.

But a government watchdog challenged the decision, saying such protection was hardly necessary for a creature whose existence has not been proven.

The regional council agreed to remove the listing this month, but declined to rule out that a monster lives in the 300-foot deep lake.

"It exists, inasmuch as it lives in the minds of people," the council's chief legal adviser Peter Lif said about the purported beast. "But I guess we'll have to agree that it cannot be proved scientifically, and then it should not be listed as an endangered species."

The so-called Storsjo monster was first mentioned in print in 1635. Hundreds of sightings have been reported since then. Some people describe the creature as a snakelike animal with a dog's head and fins on its neck. But no clear image of it has been captured on camera.

Storsjo monster aficionados said lifting the endangered species protection was a mistake, and appeared insulted by the decision.

"We are not fanatics," said Christer Berko, of the Storsjo monster association. "We see this as very interesting phenomenon that we unfortunately have not been able to document."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Congo's Hippos Hunted, Eaten to Extinction

Just terrible. What a bunch of scum.

Of particular note is a statement at the end by some jack:
"I know killing a hippo is illegal, but I don't know why," said Kiyana Zirimagawabo, 55, wearing green flip-flops and a cowboy hat over his graying hair. "Animals are for us to eat."

Not too long ago, people thought the same thing about his ancestors - but that they were to be used for work. You'd think he'd lay off such a bold statement. For him, extinction is just another word for satiated apatite.

Congo's Hippos Hunted, Eaten to Extinction

By ANJAN SUNDARAM, Associated Press WriterWed Nov 9, 2:10 PM ET

In his poaching days in the Congo forests, Guillaume Kasereka used a rusty Russian-made rocket launcher to kill hippos for meat. These days, he says, they're too scarce and the competition too fierce — rebels and militiamen machine-gun the animals and even dynamite lakes to bring dead hippo to the surface.

Congo's hippopotamus population, the world's largest, is being devastated by poaching, conservation officials say. Only about 800 remain in Virunga National Park, in the northeast of the country, down from 29,000 in the mid-1970s, according to Walter Dzeidzic of the World Wildlife Fund in Congo. Dzeidzic says the hippo may soon be extinct in the Central African nation.

The poachers are believed to be veterans of Congolese bush wars and former Hutu rebels who fled to eastern Congo in 1994 after killing Tutsis in the genocide in neighboring Rwanda. They hunt because they are hungry, but also for profit — the meat, though tough, is a pricey delicacy and a three-ton hippo fetches thousands of dollars in village markets across northeastern Congo.

A stocky Congolese ex-militiaman told a reporter he and his comrades had killed 40 hippos in the past three years.

He said they were hungry and needed money, but acknowledged they may have killed too many. He asked that his name not be used, saying he feared retribution for abandoning his militia.

Villagers say hippo meat usually comes to markets unannounced. Its sale is illegal and it sells fast.

"Sometimes we hear of hippopotamus meat in the village market," said Agustin Ndimu, a wildlife officer with the WWF who tracks the hippo meat trade. "But even an hour later, the meat is all sold and there is no trace to follow."

A restaurant owner in the river town of Rutshuru, about 45 miles north of the city of Goma, told a reporter she was out of hippo meat. Knowing the trade is illegal, she refused to give her name.

Mashuri Mazakongo, a 44-year-old bean farmer in ragged clothes, held up a worn and heavily lined palm and said: "That much meat is $5" — enough to feed him for three to four days.

"I like eating hippos, even though the meat is tough," he said. "But I don't go near them now. They belong to the enemies."

"The enemies" is the villagers' term for the estimated 5,000 Hutu rebels in Virunga National Park who are notorious for looting Congolese villages and raping their women.

Not all the villagers see a link between their appetites and the dwindling hippo population.

"I know killing a hippo is illegal, but I don't know why," said Kiyana Zirimagawabo, 55, wearing green flip-flops and a cowboy hat over his graying hair. "Animals are for us to eat."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Update on Hurrican Katrina Animal Victim Resue Update: What's Really Going on There

Read on. A sobering messege on the reality of the situation. Again, if you can help, please do so.


11/7 Very depressing day...

Today we found 3 dead cats at 3 separate houses. These were cats who had
only died in the past few days. Two of the cats were found dead on their
front porches next to empty food and water bowls. The other was found dead
on the back porch of a house where again, no food/water was available. Why
did these animals die? Because we do not have enough people to feed them.
This is not a normal city on a normal day where animals can search through
trash for scraps. This is a city where the majority of the residents have
not returned so no trash is being generated. This is a city where there are
no puddles for them to drink out of because it has not rained in over a
month. This is a city where there are no residents who will feed them
because very few people are actually living in New Orleans. This is a city
in a crisis. These animals have nothing but us to help them. I hate to say
it but the animal community is failing these animals. Today we only had 24
people to put out food and water stations in a city that has thousands of
animals on the streets. It is a tragedy that these animals made it through
the hurricane, made it through the flood, made it through another hurricane
and are dieing because they don't have enough food and water. Please don't
think that someone else will go and help...because they won't and they're
not. Please get in your car, get on a plane and come to New Orleans to help
put food and water out for these animals. We currently have over three
thousand locations in our database where we know animals are hiding under
porches and under houses. I am begging you to please help. We will provide
you with the list of locations and all the dog and cat food you will need.
Just come...
All the instructions you need are on
PLEASE don't let anymore animals die...

Jane Garrison

Monday, November 07, 2005

Animal Rescue New Orleans Needs You Now - Yep, Still Work to be Done. Here's How You Can Help Those Animals Still Victims of Hurricane Katrina

It's hard to belive that there is still so much to be done. This email is pretty clear on how you can help. Please read and do what you can.
Jane Garrison & David Meyer

Question: Are volunteers still needed in New Orleans? Answer: Desperately!

FOOD/WATER UNTIL WE CAN CATCH (TRAP) THEM. They are surviving in packs or
burrowing under homes, some of which may be bulldozed.

A cat cowers in the dirt under her broken home. A pack of dogs dart between
shattered cars. Quick shadows. Glimpsed after dark. Now mere vestiges of
their former lives.

Where once there was a home, a warm lap and kind hand... There is starvation
and death for thousands of animals in the ruins of New Orleans.

November 2: We rescued an emaciated cat living amid the debris of a
destroyed home. This cat was experiencing liver failure by the time we
reached her. Sadly, the cat died while in transit to the emergency clinic...

These animals survived hurricanes and floods. How can we let them succumb to
starvation and disease? In New Orleans Parish, the Louisiana SPCA operates
with just a few officers. Nearby St. Bernard Parish has virtually no animal control.

Please reserve days, weeks—whatever you can—to help New Orleans animals.
JUST DO IT. All of your questions are answered below.

1. People to help put out feeding stations.
2. People to trap dogs/cats.
3. People to transport rescued animals to Best Friends in Mississippi each evening.
4. People to transport animals to humane societies.
In other words, we need people!

We need volunteers THROUGH END OF NOVEMBER INTO DECEMBER, at which time we
will assess continued need and update you.



Brenda: or Kate:

3. In your email, state: (PLEASE DO NOT SEND INFO MORE THAN ONCE!)

* Full name / Name of organization (if applicable)
* Street, city, state
* Cell phone, land phone
* Email address
* Brief description of experience working with animals
* ARRIVE/DEPART dates in New Orleans
* Where did you hear about us or see our alert?, Best Friends, ARNO website, other blog, website or list?

*When you write back, please keep our original message in the body of your email.

4. Type “HURRICANE VOLUNTEER” in the subject line of your email, or we may miss it.

5. If you are an Animal Control Officer, Veterinarian/Vet Tech, or Experienced Humane Trapper
state this in subject line of email. I.E., HURRICANE VOLUNTEER: Animal Control Officer

Attend the morning assignment meetings - 7:30 am
Corner of Magazine and Felicity Streets by empty Star Hair & Nails bldg.
Around the corner from prior location at 1823 Magazine Street.
MAPQUEST “Magazine and Felicity St.” in New Orleans.

If you arrive after 7:30 am meeting:
Call Jane Garrison 843-343-8887 for food/water assignment area.
Call Holly: 757-641-4527 or Rob Stone: 253-307-0969

CONTACT Jane Garrison: 843-343-8887,

CONTACT Holly: 757-641-4527 or Rob Stone: 253-307-0969

CONTACT Karla Osbeck: or 310-800-7011

CONTACT Priscilla Gargalis:

Kate Danaher:
Brenda Shoss:
Pia Salk:

- Fly into New Orleans or Baton Rouge.
- Rent a vehicle with room for supplies. Vans and SUVs appreciated.

CAMPING: Bring tent to camp on parking lot/small fenced yard located
alongside property at 1585 Magazine Street.

HOMES: Request list of residents to contact directly, Brenda:

FEMA TENT: (Premier Camp tent) FEMA campground with cots, laundry, food,
first aid, running water, showers, etc. that volunteers may use.
1 Melvin Bernard Hwy., Chalmette, LA 70043, Off St. Bernard Highway

State you are in town for ANIMAL RESCUE NEW ORLEANS. You must sign in and
sign out of the FEMA tent daily, or we may lose privileges to stay there.

HOTELS: Volunteers have told us about...
Days Inn, in Harvey ($99; sharing makes it reasonable) 504-366-8531

Quality Inn, in Gretna ($112; Two beds) 504-366-8531

Wyndham New Orleans, 504-566-7006

Email Shanah Lia Richardson at for help
locating affordable travel options or rideshares.

1. FEED AND WATER TEAMS: Responsible for keeping animals alive until they
can be trapped. Does not require any specialized skills...just compassion and will!

2. TRAPPING TEAMS: Animal Control Officers, DVMs, Vet Techs or Individuals
with Experience Trapping Animals. These volunteers are encouraged to spend
at least one week in New Orleans and may submit (air, car rental, or gas)
travel receipts for reimbursement. An estimate of travel expenses is
required for approval.

3. RESCUE TEAMS: Rescue animals described in calls to our dispatch number as
“animals in need.” Teams also comb city to pick up street animals who
approach them without need to trap. Animal handling experience necessary.

Animals unable to survive transport are brought to:
SE Veterinary Specialists, 504-219-0444
400 N. Causeway; Metairie, Louisiana

Other animals go to Southern Animal Foundation by 4:30 pm.
They are then transported to Best Friends in Tylertown, MS.
Southern Animal Foundation
1823 Magazine Street; New Orleans, LA 70130

CONTACT Priscilla Gargalis:

ATN: Rescue Groups
Southern Animal Foundation
1823 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

Our storage area at (Church’s parking lot) 1585 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70130.
PLEASE CONTACT Holly: 757-641-4527 or Rob Stone: 253-307-0969
to arrange for someone to meet you there.

Dry Dog/Cat Food
ANC (pop-top) Canned Cat Food and/or Canned Mackerel (for cat/dog traps)
Fresh Water (gallon containers)
Disposable Lasagna Trays or Litter Boxes (for water on the streets)
Large Plastic Dog Crates / Small Crates
Catch Poles
Humane Large Dog Traps & Cat Traps
Towels and Sheets
Cat/Dog Gloves
Car Chalk for Marking Rescue Vehicles
Gift Cards to Gas Stations / Gift Cards to Wal-Mart
Monetary Donations for Vet Care, Spay/Neuter, etc.
Vet Supplies (Lactate Ringer fluid bags & tubing), antibiotics, etc.
Bottled Water, Gatorade, Energy Bars, Snacks for Rescuers

Make check payable to: / P.O. Box 7 / Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Indicate in check memo: Animal Rescue New Orleans
Donate online:

Make check payable to: Jane Garrison
2294 Otranto Rd. / North Charleston, SC 29406
Indicate in check memo: Animal Rescue New Orleans

Jane can download Walmart gift cards from this site. Or, you may go to any
Walmart to purchase a gift card and mail to the address above.

FRONT: “If I leave, they leave... In Memory of Hurricane Katrina Animals”
BACK: “Animal Rescue New Orleans.”

current Hepatitis vaccinations
(Hepatitis A most important)
current Tetanus shot
pepper spray
hand sanitizer; alcohol and hydrogen peroxide
insect repellent (non- aerosol if flying)
first aid kits

thick "bite-proof" work gloves
sturdy, waterproof (rubber) work boots/shoes
change of shoes, extra socks, hat
long sleeve shirts, long pants (for coverage, but lightweight)
eye protection (sunglasses)
cases of dust/surgical masks


utility knife, crowbar
belt (to hang gears/supplies from)

flashlights, D batteries
cell phone & car charger
phone cards (in case cell phones don’t work)
waterproof walkie talkies helpful
toilet paper
pillows, blankets, sheets, towels
water, Gatorade, snacks
other personal-care items

Come prepared to camp:
tent, sleeping bag, air mattress or cot

Regarding Animal Rescue New Orleans with Jane Garrison, as well as other
relief efforts, send an email to



Brenda Shoss, Information & Volunteer Coordinator:
(desk) 314-863-9445; (cell) 314-795-2646
7380 Kingsbury Blvd.; Saint Louis, MO 63130

Julia Fischer, Supply Storage & Distribution Director:
(cell) 251-455-9377; (home) 251-645-8605
shelter phone: 251-478-9743
771 Holcombe Ave.; Mobile, Alabama 36605

Information in all alerts is verified with original sources, to the best of
our ability. We cannot assume responsibility for the consequences of its
use. Call or email contacts at specific locations before going.
Grassroots Effort for Animals of the Storm
Kinship Circle * Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF)

Search for More Content

Custom Search
Bookmark and Share

Past Articles